Labor & Workforce

Venezuelan public workers resume protests to demand pay hike

Caracas, Jan 23 (EFE).- Thousands of public employees took to the streets again in a number of Venezuelan cities on Monday to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the country’s democracy and to demand that the government give them a pay hike that “allows (us) to live with dignity.”

In March 2022, the government set the minimum salary at 130 bolivares per month, equivalent at that time to $30 but which, due to inflation, has now been reduced to a little over $6 per month.

In Caracas, the workers assembled at the headquarters of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and than, carrying signs and chanting slogans, marched to the seat of the General Prosecutor’s Office, where they staged an “improvised assembly” at which they enunciated and confirmed their demands.

Joining the workers on Monday, which marks the second week since they began their protest, were university students along with leaders of the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV), which in 2020 distanced itself from the Nicolas Maduro government, under the slogan “Regardless of who governs, the rights of the people will be defended.”

The president of the UCV’s Worker’s Union, Eduardo Sanchez, told EFE that the demonstration was a success, since the marchers were able to move past several “cordons” set up by security forces.

Meanwhile, union member Deyanira Romero told EFE that the workers were carrying out their duty to “fight for a dignified salary.”

Similar protests were held in several cities in at least 19 of the country’s 23 states, according to reports shared on the social networks by union organizations and leaders of the opposition.

Fedecamaras, the main employers’ organization in Venezuela, proposed discussing a pay hike with the government, the workers and the unions, at the third in-person session of the Social Dialogue Forum with the technical support of the International Labor Organization (ILO), a forum that will get under way on Jan. 30.

The business organization said that it is “urgent” that a decision be made on the matter within the framework of a pay policy that is “sustainable” both in terms of workers’ earnings and employers’ willingness and/or ability to pay.

Meanwhile, backers of the Chavista government also took to the streets on Monday to show their support for the Maduro administration and to reject the sanctions imposed on Caracas by the United States, which the government blames for keeping public employees’ salaries low.

EFE sc/sb/rrt/bp

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